Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds has told Sky News his takeover of non-league football club Wrexham is “the role of a lifetime” – and has assured British fans of the one word he definitely won’t be using when it comes to his new team.
“I wouldn’t dare call it soccer,” he says. “I care about my well-being enough to not call it soccer.”
Phew. Reynolds is off to a good start for the new season.
The Deadpool actor is speaking on Zoom ahead of the release of his latest film Free Guy, which tells the story of Guy, a bank worker who lives a Groundhog Day-style existence until he discovers he is actually no more than a background character in a violent, open world video game. It looks set to be a feel-good summer blockbuster, and fans in Wrexham are set to be treated to a special preview screening on Tuesday evening.
Reynolds and his friend Rob McElhenney, creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, took 100% control of the Welsh club, known as the Red Dragons, from the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) in February after the bid was approved by fans, and have invested £2m as part of the deal.
Posting on social media on the day the takeover was announced, the Canadian actor shared a photo of himself in a club hoodie bearing his initials. “And away we go…” read the caption on Instagram, followed by the hashtag #UpTheTown. “Can’t get to the Racecourse Ground fast enough. Game on,” he wrote on Twitter.
Both stars want to raise the profile of not just the club but the area, too, Reynolds tells Sky News, and show their appreciation to fans; hence the preview screening in the North Wales town.
“Well, first off, [I’m] super excited,” says Reynolds. “I mean, we’ve made no secret of that, it’s the role of a lifetime for both me and for Rob McElhenney.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic meaning they have been unable to visit the club this year, the plan is to spend some time at the team’s ground, the Racecourse Ground, when they are finally able to.
“I think the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to go to the Racecourse and just spend some time on the ground and just kind of try to absorb as much of the legacy as we can of the club and Wrexham,” says Reynolds. “And then we’re going to jump into the community as much as we can. You know, I’m excited to just be in the town and experience all that the town has to offer.
Reynolds is currently starring as Guy in Free Guy. Pic: Alan Markfield/ Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
The star has invested in Wrexham alongside Rob McElhenney. Pic: Dave Starbuck/picture-alliance/dpa/AP
“There’s such a rich history in Wrexham and there’s such a legacy of incredible adoration and love for this club and we kind of feel like both the community and the club are really intertwined. We’re excited about hopefully raising the profile of both.”
Wrexham will play their first match of the 2021-22 season at home against Yeovil Town on Saturday 21 August.
Both Reynolds and McElhenney are set to appear in an access-all-areas docu-series about the club, called Welcome To Wrexham, following the highs and lows of their first two seasons.
When it comes to his own football (not soccer) skills, Reynolds, 44, says he is not bad – but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be showing off to the players any time soon.
“My football skills are all right,” he says. “I mean, I played for, I don’t know, 10 years as a kid. I don’t even pretend to be anywhere near the level of the players in the club or even just your average, everyday, you know, human being in Wales.
“I wouldn’t put my skills up against anyone, but I love it. Yeah, I definitely love it. I’m excited to see the club go.”
Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, is released in cinemas on Friday 13 August. Look out for more on the film and our interview with the star on the Sky News website and app later this week.